pdf annotations made in scrivener don't endure


I have a a scrivener doc which contains some text files, and also, in the Research folder, a pdf.

I want to annotate the pdf in scrivener’s editor, because the pdf has lots of text boxes that are click-and-fillable. After this I create my text documents. There seems to be no problem clicking in the text boxes and entering information.

But after filling in all the pdf text boxes, and saving, quitting, and restarting for work the next day, I found that all the text boxes in the pdf were blank again.

I did this a couple of times to confirm the behaviour.

I am not using an external editor to fill these text-boxes.

What am I doing wrong?

I am using 3.02 on a high-sierra recent mac.

From p. 155 of the Scrivener manual:


In Scrivener, PDF files are there only for research and reference. There is no way to edit them (beyond adding simple highlights) and save changes in the way you are attempted. Instead, you will need to make these changes in an external editor. To do so, click on the button on the right of the footer beneath the PDF. Then make changes in an external editor, save, and click the refresh button in the footer in Scrivener to see the changes.

In theory, it is possible for Scrivener to save the updated PDF, but the problem is that it seems Apple’s PDFKit (which Scrivener uses to display PDF files) does not send out any notifications about when an annotation or text field has been edited. So there is no way for Scrivener to know when a change has made and thus that the PDF file should be added to the “stuff to save” pile.

All the best,

I did some experimenting, and found out that if you take another action within the PDF that does trigger a save, then form fields do appear to be saved. For example, if you highlight a word in the document and then go to another document and come back, you should see form fields saved—though you might have to manually refresh the PDF before seeing the changes.

I don’t know how much I would trust it though—probably far safer to use the button in the footer bar to load the PDF into Preview and make the form adjustments there.

OK, got it!



I cannot seem to find the refresh button at the bottom of Scrivener. I use the Windows version.

I am not sure what, if any, relevance the above would have on Windows, but there is no refresh button. You should be able to effectively refresh by hitting the Back and Forward History keys though, Ctrl+[ and Ctrl+].

I believe that the buttons Keith referred to are these (hope this helps) :

Yeah that’s the one, but unfortunately that button isn’t present in the Windows version. :blush:

Oops. :blush: I relied upon this being in the Mac forum, and didn’t read DNHARRIS’s post carefully. Apologies. Never mind…

Thank you for clarifying that the refresh button is a iOS only feature. Happy scriving!